By defeating the Peterborough Lakers in the MSL finale, the Six Nations Chiefs earned the right to host the 2014 Mann Cup, which starts on Friday at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville.
The Chiefs had an average regular season, finishing in fourth place with a 9-9 record. They had a fluctuating lineup; none of their players dressed for all 18 games. Many of their players missed a significant amount of time representing Team Iroquois in Denver. However, the Chiefs are a young, energetic team that is built for a long playoff run, and they defeated the first place Brooklin Redmen in five games before knocking off the Lakers in seven.
Chiefs goaltenders Brandon Miller and Evan Kirk combined for the lowest goals against average this season, earning the Harry Lumley trophy. They work as a great team – Miller started all five games versus Brooklin, and when he came down with pneumonia, Kirk stepped in and started every game in the Peterborough series. Kirk was lifted in the seventh game after Peterborough scored four first period goals, and Miller came in to allow only one goal in 42:10.
Miller said that he felt good about his relief effort.
“I had a little bit of nerves since it’s been so long since I’ve played,” he said. “I wasn’t sure how my health would be, how my legs would be, I’ve had pneumonia, and didn’t really feel healthy till game six so I wasn’t sure if I would run out of gas so I was a little worried about that, but once I got through the first period it seemed to work out all right.”
The Chiefs leading playoff scorer, Cody Jamieson, won the Johnny Shooter Davis trophy as playoff MVP. He picked up 50 points in just 12 games. Jeff Shattler, who finished first in scoring for the Chiefs in the regular season, is as much of a scoring threat as Jamieson. Rookie Vaughn Harris has been stellar in the face-off circle, and has chipped in on offence as well.
The Chiefs defense is one of the best in the world, featuring the three Smith’s – Sid, Billy Dee, and Rory – none of them related to the others. Rory plays with a wooden stick, and although he has calmed down quite a bit since coming to the Chiefs, the Shamrocks will want to stay out of the way of his slashes.
The Chiefs will have a huge fan base for the tournament, as they are drawing support from all over the greater Hamilton area. The Chiefs have been encouraging their fans to bring drums to the games to support the team in defense of their Mann Cup title.
If you are taking in a game, be sure to stop by the ILA’s snack bar – easily one of the biggest and best in any arena anywhere. Huge selection of food and snacks and friendly service. Just make sure if you ask for the mac and cheese bites (which I highly recommend), you tell the person at the fryer what you ordered, because they won’t know to make them unless you speak up! Seriously, they’re really good.